Thermostats seem like a well-worn and trustworthy technology at this point, but technological advances have brought big changes to the controls of our heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. The new frontier in HVAC control is the programmable thermostat, a digital marvel allowing for fine-tuned adjustment of temperatures. Below, you’ll find several reasons to consider making the switch yourself.
Turning the HVAC Off or Down During the Day
The biggest use for a programmable thermostat is to set indoor temperatures for your space based on the time of day. The average building has different amounts of occupation at different times of day; by reducing your HVAC’s output during that time, you can cut energy costs while also helping with costly wear and tear on the system. You should think about whether or not to set the thermostat to turn off entirely, however, because it is often more efficient to lessen the amount of climate control at a particular time than to entirely cut the system, which requires a costly warm-up period when you eventually turn it back on.
If your day’s settings are not cutting it, however, you can always override. When doing so, try to avoid canceling out the long-term settings you have entered; instead, use the override settings to change temperatures for a short period. Be sure you’re not simply engaging in the common practice of trying to increase heating or cooling speed by changing thermostat temperature, however. In fact, your HVAC doesn’t heat or cool quicker simply because you’ve changed the temperature setting.
Different Day Structures
Different programmable thermostats have different setting slots. The seven-day is the most basic, keeping the same program every day of the week. You’ll want to adjust this kind of system each day, to include your daily schedule. Five plus two-day thermostats have different settings for a defined “weekend” period, and are good for nine-to-five households. There are also five plus one plus one models, allowing for finer weekend control if you have radically different schedules from one weekend day to the next.
Zone Heating and Cooling
More advanced HVAC control systems also offer a greater degree of control over not just how much you heat or cool your home, but where. Selectively changing the temperature in your home by room or area is zone heating and cooling, and is a great way to save money by spending less to adjust the climate in rooms that are not in use. Obviously, this kind of temperature scheme works best in larger houses where some rooms are not used for some time, but even a medium-sized home can benefit. Be sure to close the doors on rooms not being heated or cooled, to keep the temperature there from spreading through the rest of the house.
Buying a technological upgrade to one’s home might be a source of anxiety, as we worry whether new advances will soon make what we bought obsolete. But programmable thermostats are a device whose time has come, and will stay in use well into the future. Invest in home improvement today, and start stacking up the savings.